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Author Topic: Biofuels and climate chage  (Read 15316 times)

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #25 on: 14/03/2007 19:44:33 »
we have the records to show that the climate is changing more due to the use of fossil fuels. Have you read The naked Scientists, Helen Hendry's piece? http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/helencolumn2.htm
Not yet – maybe when I've finished composing my response to you.

OK, I've read her piece now, but I'm not sure of the significance of it.

It makes calaims about how much human kind will be damaged by global warming (mostly extrapolating on a global scale what she saw in Napal), but it does not even claim (although it make silently assume) that the global warming she is concerned about is og anthropogenic origin.

Interestingly, it seems to be becoming almost fashionable now to attack the claims for anthropogenic global warming.  The following are not science based, but are an interesting indication of the change of the political climate:

http://www.lse.co.uk/ShowStory.asp?story=CZ434669U&news_headline=global_warming_is_lies_claims_documentary
Quote
Global Warming Is Lies' Claims Documentary
Sunday, 4th March 2007, 11:04

Accepted theories about man causing global warming are "lies" claims a controversial new TV documentary.

'The Great Global Warming Swindle' - backed by eminent scientists - is set to rock the accepted consensus that climate change is being driven by humans.

The programme, to be screened on Channel 4 on Thursday March 8, will see a series of respected scientists attack the "propaganda" that they claim is killing the world's poor.

Even the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is shown, claiming African countries should be encouraged to burn more CO2.

Nobody in the documentary defends the greenhouse effect theory, as it claims that climate change is natural, has been occurring for years, and ice falling from glaciers is just the spring break-up and as normal as leaves falling in autumn.

A source at Channel 4 said: "It is essentially a polemic and we are expecting it to cause trouble, but this is the controversial programming that Channel 4 is renowned for."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/science/13gore.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Quote
Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #26 on: 14/03/2007 19:46:38 »
we have the records to show that the climate is changing more due to the use of fossil fuels. Have you read The naked Scientists, Helen Hendry's piece? http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/helencolumn2.htm
Not yet – maybe when I've finished composing my response to you.

OK, I've read her piece now, but I'm not sure of the significance of it.

It makes calaims about how much human kind will be damaged by global warming (mostly extrapolating on a global scale what she saw in Napal), but it does not even claim (although it make silently assume) that the global warming she is concerned about is og anthropogenic origin.

Interestingly, it seems to be becoming almost fashionable now to attack the claims for anthropogenic global warming.  The following are not science based, but are an interesting indication of the change of the political climate:

http://www.lse.co.uk/ShowStory.asp?story=CZ434669U&news_headline=global_warming_is_lies_claims_documentary
Quote
Global Warming Is Lies' Claims Documentary
Sunday, 4th March 2007, 11:04

Accepted theories about man causing global warming are "lies" claims a controversial new TV documentary.

'The Great Global Warming Swindle' - backed by eminent scientists - is set to rock the accepted consensus that climate change is being driven by humans.

The programme, to be screened on Channel 4 on Thursday March 8, will see a series of respected scientists attack the "propaganda" that they claim is killing the world's poor.

Even the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is shown, claiming African countries should be encouraged to burn more CO2.

Nobody in the documentary defends the greenhouse effect theory, as it claims that climate change is natural, has been occurring for years, and ice falling from glaciers is just the spring break-up and as normal as leaves falling in autumn.

A source at Channel 4 said: "It is essentially a polemic and we are expecting it to cause trouble, but this is the controversial programming that Channel 4 is renowned for."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/science/13gore.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Quote
Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #27 on: 14/03/2007 19:47:32 »
we have the records to show that the climate is changing more due to the use of fossil fuels. Have you read The naked Scientists, Helen Hendry's piece? http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/helencolumn2.htm
Not yet – maybe when I've finished composing my response to you.

OK, I've read her piece now, but I'm not sure of the significance of it.

It makes calaims about how much human kind will be damaged by global warming (mostly extrapolating on a global scale what she saw in Napal), but it does not even claim (although it make silently assume) that the global warming she is concerned about is og anthropogenic origin.

Interestingly, it seems to be becoming almost fashionable now to attack the claims for anthropogenic global warming.  The following are not science based, but are an interesting indication of the change of the political climate:

http://www.lse.co.uk/ShowStory.asp?story=CZ434669U&news_headline=global_warming_is_lies_claims_documentary
Quote
Global Warming Is Lies' Claims Documentary
Sunday, 4th March 2007, 11:04

Accepted theories about man causing global warming are "lies" claims a controversial new TV documentary.

'The Great Global Warming Swindle' - backed by eminent scientists - is set to rock the accepted consensus that climate change is being driven by humans.

The programme, to be screened on Channel 4 on Thursday March 8, will see a series of respected scientists attack the "propaganda" that they claim is killing the world's poor.

Even the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is shown, claiming African countries should be encouraged to burn more CO2.

Nobody in the documentary defends the greenhouse effect theory, as it claims that climate change is natural, has been occurring for years, and ice falling from glaciers is just the spring break-up and as normal as leaves falling in autumn.

A source at Channel 4 said: "It is essentially a polemic and we are expecting it to cause trouble, but this is the controversial programming that Channel 4 is renowned for."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/science/13gore.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Quote
Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #28 on: 14/03/2007 19:50:15 »
Test entry
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #29 on: 14/03/2007 20:13:13 »
"Paul, I am afraid we have lost your reply to my response, so I will have to await your reposting of that response before I can comment upon it (I know, that was an hour and a half of your work this morning – blame Dave – although I know he feels awkward enough about having lost the data)."

hi George,

nooooooooo, you will not believe this but i was thinking of saving my reply also but as  i wrote it on the pc at work i thought it best not to.

hindsight is such a good thing...i will try again later to post a reply. It would seem that all data over quite a few hours was lost!

but the site does have a nicer feel and look about it, i was sort of hoping you may have saved my reply from this morning/last night..
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #30 on: 14/03/2007 20:17:32 »
Not as bad as I thought - I have a copy of your post, but will need to reformat it - I can send it to you as a copy of what was on the screen if you wish to reformat it.
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #31 on: 14/03/2007 20:20:43 »
Not as bad as I thought - I have a copy of your post, but will need to reformat it - I can send it to you as a copy of what was on the screen if you wish to reformat it.

you are a star, George.
If it's not too much trouble could you pm or email it to me and i will format and repost later tonight.
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #32 on: 14/03/2007 20:22:31 »
we have the records to show that the climate is changing more due to the use of fossil fuels. Have you read The naked Scientists, Helen Hendry's piece? http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/helencolumn2.htm
Not yet – maybe when I've finished composing my response to you.

OK, I've read her piece now, but I'm not sure of the significance of it.

It makes calaims about how much human kind will be damaged by global warming (mostly extrapolating on a global scale what she saw in Napal), but it does not even claim (although it make silently assume) that the global warming she is concerned about is og anthropogenic origin.

Interestingly, it seems to be becoming almost fashionable now to attack the claims for anthropogenic global warming.  The following are not science based, but are an interesting indication of the change of the political climate:

http://www.lse.co.uk/ShowStory.asp?story=CZ434669U&news_headline=global_warming_is_lies_claims_documentary
Quote
Global Warming Is Lies' Claims Documentary
Sunday, 4th March 2007, 11:04

Accepted theories about man causing global warming are "lies" claims a controversial new TV documentary.

'The Great Global Warming Swindle' - backed by eminent scientists - is set to rock the accepted consensus that climate change is being driven by humans.

The programme, to be screened on Channel 4 on Thursday March 8, will see a series of respected scientists attack the "propaganda" that they claim is killing the world's poor.

Even the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is shown, claiming African countries should be encouraged to burn more CO2.

Nobody in the documentary defends the greenhouse effect theory, as it claims that climate change is natural, has been occurring for years, and ice falling from glaciers is just the spring break-up and as normal as leaves falling in autumn.

A source at Channel 4 said: "It is essentially a polemic and we are expecting it to cause trouble, but this is the controversial programming that Channel 4 is renowned for."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/science/13gore.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Quote
Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #33 on: 14/03/2007 20:31:01 »
Not as bad as I thought - I have a copy of your post, but will need to reformat it - I can send it to you as a copy of what was on the screen if you wish to reformat it.

you are a star, George.
If it's not too much trouble could you pm or email it to me and i will format and repost later tonight.

You should have an email on its way to you.

 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #34 on: 14/03/2007 21:55:53 »
Many thank to George for sending the post i made last night. Below is the post i made as is...or as was.  :)


squirm...i have always thought it polite to always reply to any question, letter ,text message....but the next time someone asks me for opinion i am seriously considering throwing the keyboard out the window

yes it's shift work, and i think you are right about the small replies. They look more daunting than one long one...I am however going to try and keep this reply as short as possible.

Computer models are only as good as the assumptions used to build them.


i think we agree on this, but possibly for different reasons. I know they are not an exact science, but they are the best we have at this time.


On the contrary, if we look well beyond 800,000 years, we find every evidence that natural fluctuations in the Earth's CO2 extend over a far wider range than we are seeing today, and come back down as well as going up.

Again we sort of agree on this, i said previously that i knew the climate has always been changing. I just think that our burning and use of fossil fuels has had a significant impact on the natural process - a speeding up of the process, if you like.



But you are missing both the points I was making.

Firstly, not all actions will satisfy both criteria (the use of domestic coal being one example, but with a bot of thought, I could imagine many others).

If only one of the criteria are met, then do we regard the the policy as a failure or a success – that rather depends upon whether the criteria we judge is the same as the criteria by which success has been achieved.



I think i understand your points, but if the outcome is a reduction in overall emissions then whatever the reasons for the change be them environmental or economical both side win. I have reservations that any policies the government of the time implements will always be economical, no matter how they spin the environmental angle it will primarily be revenue and cost based. I'm my opinion the criteria for change will be what can we afford to do
. sure it should be what can we afford not to do, but that is a fantasy.


So you think that a policy where Russia is bankrupted, or where each nation (Russia, the UK, France, etc.) is so self sufficient in all things that international trade becomes a thing of the past, is a good thing?

No, i just did not understand what you meant by "if Russia had nothing to sell us, that too would be a bad thing." If the EU was truly an open trade platform i would agree, but it's policies are dominated by the French and German positions, and increasingly Russians. Our position has been weakened by the present government, under a conservative government we would stand more chance of being an equal partner. Whilst Cameron has the right idea of how to deal with Europe, i fear he is not strong enough to do this and we are still suffering from the legacy of Mrs T.



That is not the official Iranian line.  You may choose to disbelieve the official line from Tehran, but I was talking about what the official line was.

My apologies. but, i do disbelieve the official Iranian line for the reason i previously stated.
The Iranians themselves are arguing that they are looking forward to the day when their oil runs out (or at least no longer can be relied upon as a primary source of energy and wealth), and so are anticipating that day by investing in nuclear power, and the research that goes with that.  This seems totally consistent with the argument you are using with regard to what the whole world should be doing.

This they are, and yes it does seem consistant to my position. However, like i said previously i do not believe the Iranians want nuclear power for the official reason they give. Should they proceed and acquire the technology and means to produce nuclear power and ultimately weapons this is another kettle of fish which will destabilise the region further, and the possibility or Israel being drawn in to conflict either on their own or with "coalition" support is pretty scary.

The UK coal fields are anything but non-existent – what is now almost non-existent is the capaicity to make use of those coal fields.

Living in the middle of the yorkshire coal field i have seem many mines closed, many have just had their shafts capped and some are mothballed. Strangely enough plans are now underway to reopen the colliery in my village and build a coal fired power station on the pit top. This may bring some economic benefit to the local community, but i would much rather see a nuclear power station down the bottom of my street than the colliery reopening. I think this would have a bigger economic impact, be greener and from a selfish point of view be cleaner not just environmentally but locally.

OK, i think that's all. I am enjoying this debate with you George, but note the person how asked the question origionally has left it well alone....i am posting this whilst at work in the hope that i may be able to go to bed in the morning!
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #35 on: 15/03/2007 18:43:09 »
Computer models are only as good as the assumptions used to build them.
i think we agree on this, but possibly for different reasons. I know they are not an exact science, but they are the best we have at this time.

It may be the best we have, but is it good enough to be the basis for policy.

As an analogy, if you were to walk blindfolded into a room containing a terrorist and a dozen hostages, and a gun in your hand, the best you could do is to shoot blind; but a better option would be to hold your fire until you knew where the target was.

In the absence of good knowledge, sometimes the best policy is to wait and do nothing, while preparing yourself for all the possible eventualities (which may turn out to be the exact contrary to what you believe is the best policy today).

I just think that our burning and use of fossil fuels has had a significant impact on the natural process - a speeding up of the process, if you like.

You may think that, but is there real evidence for it?

Unless you can run a comparative study without human intervention, or demonstrate that you have taken into account all non-human sources of change in your analysis, you cannot regard that as anything but blind speculation.

It has been traditional to think of nature as something like an massive and slow process, but increasingly it is becoming apparent that natural processes that we once thought of as taking thousands or millions of year (because in the past we could not read the records with such fine granularity as to discern the true speed of change) can in fact happen over very much shorter periods of time.


I think i understand your points, but if the outcome is a reduction in overall emissions then whatever the reasons for the change be them environmental or economical both side win. I have reservations that any policies the government of the time implements will always be economical, no matter how they spin the environmental angle it will primarily be revenue and cost based. I'm my opinion the criteria for change will be what can we afford to do
. sure it should be what can we afford not to do, but that is a fantasy.

Not really – it is about getting elected more than it is about money.  OK, there is the argument that the electorate vote with their pockets, and so there is substantial overlap between the economic argument and the democratic one; but economics aside, it also depends upon column inches in the newspapers, and at present the Environmental agenda provides those column inches.

There is a secondary economic argument in favour of environmentalism in that it creates a backdoor protectionism.  Environmental legislation inevitably adds bureaucracy to the the running of business; but despite the fact that all companies complain about  bureaucracy, the reality is that large and established companies can absorb  bureaucracy (which is more of a fixed overhead than it is part of the cost of production), while smaller companies are the ones particularly badly hurt by  bureaucracy, which means that the cost for a new company to enter into an established field in competition to an established larger company becomes more onereous.


That is not the official Iranian line.  You may choose to disbelieve the official line from Tehran, but I was talking about what the official line was.

My apologies. but, i do disbelieve the official Iranian line for the reason i previously stated.
The Iranians themselves are arguing that they are looking forward to the day when their oil runs out (or at least no longer can be relied upon as a primary source of energy and wealth), and so are anticipating that day by investing in nuclear power, and the research that goes with that.  This seems totally consistent with the argument you are using with regard to what the whole world should be doing.

This they are, and yes it does seem consistant to my position. However, like i said previously i do not believe the Iranians want nuclear power for the official reason they give. Should they proceed and acquire the technology and means to produce nuclear power and ultimately weapons this is another kettle of fish which will destabilise the region further, and the possibility or Israel being drawn in to conflict either on their own or with "coalition" support is pretty scary.

But was not your earlier argument that it does not matter what the motive for an action if it achieves the desired result.

If you desire people to move away from an oil based economy, and preferring a nuclear based economy, what are you expecting the Iranians to do – stay with an oil based economy?

Living in the middle of the yorkshire coal field i have seem many mines closed, many have just had their shafts capped and some are mothballed. Strangely enough plans are now underway to reopen the colliery in my village and build a coal fired power station on the pit top. This may bring some economic benefit to the local community, but i would much rather see a nuclear power station down the bottom of my street than the colliery reopening. I think this would have a bigger economic impact, be greener and from a selfish point of view be cleaner not just environmentally but locally.

Not sure that nuclear would have a greater local economic impact – generally, mining has been more labour intensive than nuclear.  Nationally, I would agree that nuclear will generate more power, and from that perspective will have a greater national economic impact.

The pollution issue is complex, and depends on the timeframe you are using, and how you balance one pollutant against another.

My own preference is, as I have stated in the past, to maximise diversity, thus maintaining maximum flexibility whatever the future brings, while limiting our exposure to any single risk factor (although it does increase the likelihood that we will at least get things partly wrong, it also maximises the possibility that we will at least get it partly right).  In that light, and given the degree to which the coal industry has collapsed, I am in favour of increasing the levels of coal production, but alongside increases in nuclear power as well.
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #36 on: 16/03/2007 05:57:50 »
George, I will reply on monday....i have my daughter for a long weekend. Have a nice weekend yourself, and we will continue next week.

Paul
 

paul.fr

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #37 on: 16/03/2007 10:32:35 »
Morning George, Well i found a little time to reply before i head off for the weekend. So here is a quick reply, (with some trepidation) i look forward to your reply. Paul




It may be the best we have, but is it good enough to be the basis for policy.

As an analogy, if you were to walk blindfolded into a room containing a terrorist and a dozen hostages, and a gun in your hand, the best you could do is to
shoot blind; but a better option would be to hold your fire until you knew where the target was.

In the absence of good knowledge, sometimes the best policy is to wait and do nothing, while preparing yourself for all the possible eventualities
 (which may turn out to be the exact contrary to what you believe is the best policy today).


According to that analogy, if we were to hold fire until we knew where the terrorist was he would have shot us before we made our decision to fire. Accordingly, if we wait and do nothing then it's already too late when we decide to act.
What we need to do, is analise the data that we already have - a robust peer review - and take steps based on a worst case ceranrio.

What do we know at this present time?

Carbon dioxide levels are substantially higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years (in that time we know that the earth has gone through roughly 8 ice ages) Although this may not be new in relation to the history of the planet, it is entirely new in modern human history.
As i said before Prior to the industrial revolution the atmosphere is estimated to have contained 260 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Today it is 380 and it's estimated to rise to 550 by the middle of this centuary. So, carbon dioxide levels are higher now than in the last 8 ice ages!

There ahave been many glacial periods during the last few million years, recently at 100,000-year frequencies. The Earth is now in an interglacial period, the last retreat ending about 10,000 years ago. the typical interglacial period lasts 12,000 years

The World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), based in Switzerland, continuously studies a set of 30 mountain glaciers in different parts of the world. It is not quite a representative sample of all mountain glaciers, but does give a reliable indication of global trends.

The latest survey, just released, shows accelerating decline. During 2005, this sample of 30 glaciers became, on average, 60-70cm thinner. This figure is 1.6 times more than the average annual loss during the 1990s, and three times faster than in the 1980s.
 
The IPCC's 2001 report (i'm having trouble finding a more recent report) projects that sea level could rise between 4 and 35 inches (10 to 89cm) by century's end. Worldwide some 100 million people live within 3 feet (1 meter) of mean sea level. Over 150 km2 of London lies below high tide level.

Do we sit back and say, well it may not be due to incresed carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere? Or act to reduce our emissions?


Not really – it is about getting elected more than it is about money.  OK, there is the argument that the electorate vote with their pockets,
 and so there is substantial overlap between the economic argument and the democratic one; but economics aside, it also depends upon column inches
 in the newspapers, and at present the Environmental agenda provides those column inches.

Granted it is more about getting elected, and creating column inches but that's what politicians and the media are about. Do many journalists know the science? Or does it just make good front page news to keep the editor happy and increase sales?

Is you local politician realy concerned about the issues or just using sound bite politics to get elected?

Ofcourse they are, this is where an informed debate comes in. Apart from voting with their pockets, a lot of people vote by way of tradition...my father voted labour...so did his and i follow suit. this may not be the norm in all areas of the UK but i can assure you that is the way it is in the mining communities of yorkshire.

oh how i love it when the local labour councillors amd MP show up at my door, so much so that they now do not call! they just don't want to be challenged on their policies



But was not your earlier argument that it does not matter what the motive for an action if it achieves the desired result.

If you desire people to move away from an oil based economy, and preferring a nuclear based economy, what are you expecting the Iranians to
do – stay with an oil based economy?


Sorry George but i can not take you seriously on this. Yes my point was to move away from an oil based economy, but are you seriously advocating allowing the like of Iran nuclear capabilities?

There are more options avaliable, by all means we should help the Iranians and impoverished nations move away from their oil based economies but not with nuclear technology.

we have solar, bio-fuels (yes i argue about bio-fuels but only corn based - robbing the world of potential food is not an answer), wind, tidal even human waste can be used to make bio-fuels!


Not sure that nuclear would have a greater local economic impact – generally, mining has been more labour intensive than nuclear.  Nationally,
I would agree that nuclear will generate more power, and from that perspective will have a greater national economic impact.

The pollution issue is complex, and depends on the timeframe you are using, and how you balance one pollutant against another.

My own preference is, as I have stated in the past, to maximise diversity, thus maintaining maximum flexibility whatever the future brings, while
limiting our exposure to any single risk factor (although it does increase the likelihood that we will at least get things partly wrong, it also
maximises the possibility that we will at least get it partly right).  In that light, and given the degree to which the coal industry has collapsed,
I am in favour of increasing the levels of coal production, but alongside increases in nuclear power as well.



Yes mining has generally been more labour intensive, but modern technologies have cut the amount of human resources in the mining industry. The selby coalfield were heavilly automated and manpower greatly reduced. In modern mining there is nowhere near the employment levels as there were in the 80's or 90's.

With more investment in clean coal technologies ,then an increase in mining, although not an ideal option, would be an option none the less.

Like i said above, we need greater diversity in the way we produce fuel and electricity. We have the technology and possibly the political will to take these steps. Now if the politicians  don't see that having a "green" agenda will get them more votes, then for sure the will and money will dry up.

Why not take advantage of the current political climate and make those changes? Let's say we are wrong about climate change, and carbond dioxide is not a major factor! Will we have lost anything? Will we have created greater economic wealth? helped impoverished countries with new technology? created a whole new industry? and stopped raping the earth of it's natural resources?

Will we not all be winners?
 

another_someone

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« Reply #38 on: 17/03/2007 07:36:44 »
It may be the best we have, but is it good enough to be the basis for policy.

As an analogy, if you were to walk blindfolded into a room containing a terrorist and a dozen hostages, and a gun in your hand, the best you could do is to
shoot blind; but a better option would be to hold your fire until you knew where the target was.

In the absence of good knowledge, sometimes the best policy is to wait and do nothing, while preparing yourself for all the possible eventualities
 (which may turn out to be the exact contrary to what you believe is the best policy today).

According to that analogy, if we were to hold fire until we knew where the terrorist was he would have shot us before we made our decision to fire. Accordingly, if we wait and do nothing then it's already too late when we decide to act.

Remind me never to ask you to rescue me from anything.

Let us look at the options you would have upon entering the room:

You know the terrorist already has a number of hostages, therefore you know he is not automatically shooting people on sight, and what we don't want to do is provoke him into starting a shoot-out before we are ready.  Thus, while you are right insofar as it is hypothetically possible that as you are taken into the room (note that I said you blindfolded) he might shoot you, but it is not consistent with his past activity.

If you do shoot, and don't hit him (you cannot see him, he can see you), then you can rest assured that he will return fire, and kill you.

There are twelve hostages in the room, and one terrorist.  If you start shooting, the greatest likelihood is that you will hit nothing at all, and just draw fire upon yourself, but there is still a twelve times greater probability that you will hit one of the hostages than that you will hit the terrorist – so not only will you be committing suicide by starting a shoot-out, you may well be taking one of the hostages down with you in the cross fire.

So, if after that, you still believe that premature action is the preferential choice to make (shoot first and ask questions later), all I can say is I do not wish to be around you when you get a gun in your hand (you would be a greater threat to your allies than the enemy)..

What we need to do, is analise the data that we already have - a robust peer review - and take steps based on a worst case ceranrio.

What data, and what worst case scenario.

Do we simply look at the CO2 data in isolation, and ignore everything else (we may as well correlate the length of women's hemline with the weather and ignore all other parameters), or do we try and correlate the billions of different parameters that might possibly have an influence upon the weather (even if we cannot say yet what that influence might be)?

There have been numerous attempts to correlate all sorts of things with all sorts of other things – just go to any astrologer, and they will try and show the correlation between the time and place of your birth, and the locations of the planets at that time, and the various future events in your life.  It is even conceivable that some slight correlations might exits in such matters, for all sorts of reasons, but I would be loathed to make accurate predictions upon your future wealth, romantic outcomes, or whatever else simply based upon such assumed correlation (I certainly am not about to change my decision making processes based upon such a presumed correlation – that fact that at a particulr moment in time when something fortunate or unfortunate may have happened to me at the same time that a particular planet happened to be in a certain location in the sky does not mean that the same fortunate/unfortunate thing would not also have happened even if the planet had not been in that location in the sky).

It is always possible to discern a short term correlation between any two arbitrary variables, but that is not enough to suggest any causal link, let alone in which direction the causal link happens to be.

In the past, when something bad happened (e.g. a volcano erupted), the local priests would say that men had angered the Gods, and they must somehow appease the Gods, so they would offer human sacrifices to the Gods, and the volcanic eruption would subside, and they could say “see, if we offer human sacrifices to the Gods, they will forgive us and make the volcano stop”.  The fact that the volcanic eruption would have run its course, and would have come to some end no matter whether human sacrifices were offered or not is something that did not occur to them – why should it – they always offered the sacrifices, and the volcanoes always stopped – the system worked, and the correlation was consistently proven.  But, as I have said over and over, correlation does not prove causal link (and it certainly does not prove the direction of the causal link – since one can here discern a causal link between human sacrifice and volcanic eruptions, but the causal link was the other way around – it simply reflected the fact that humans were giving sacrifices in response to the volcano, but the volcano was not being influenced by the human sacrifices).

What about risk factors that have nothing to do with weather?  Do we allow the farming or manufacturing sectors or the health service to collapse because the only concern we have is over climate change, a change over which in the end we may have far less influence over than we have in sustaining a proper food supply, health service, and overall quality of life for us all (both in the relatively affluent West, and in the countries that are trying to climb the ladder to affluence in our wake).

The problem with worst case scenarios is that one has to balance all of the myriad of different worst case scenarios.  There is a worst case scenario that says the Earth may get hit by a large asteroid tomorrow, and in the light of such a worst case scenario, all the debates about CO2 emission seem rather irrelevant.

There are also realities that we have to face that say there are some scenarios we simply cannot do anything about.  We all (maybe more so in the more affluent parts of the world) spend a lot of effort trying to avoid death, and yet we must also recognise that as hard as we try, the most we can do is delay the inevitable, we cannot ultimately avoid it.  In that light, one also has to ask how high a price are you even willing to pay to avoid death (if someone gave you a choice of saving your own life at the cost of killing a million other people, would that be a trade you would take?  Then there are people who actually would regard quality of life to be more important than quantity of life, and may even desire their own death if they were in serious pain – that is what we do to animals who are suffering – sometimes the worst case scenario is not even the worst, sometimes there is something worse yet).


What do we know at this present time?

Carbon dioxide levels are substantially higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years (in that time we know that the earth has gone through roughly 8 ice ages) Although this may not be new in relation to the history of the planet, it is entirely new in modern human history.

The term 'ice age' is a relative term, and many would argue we are still in the middle of an ice age (one definition of an ice age is a period of time when ice exists anywhere on the planet, which it clearly does at present, but by no means is common throughout Earth's history).

But, as I said (and there is still some controversy even about the claims that CO2 levels are at their highest for 800,000 years, since other datasets and other proxy measurements give very different answers – which dataset and which proxy one has more faith in then becomes an issue) even if this fact is true, correlation and cause are different things.


As i said before Prior to the industrial revolution the atmosphere is estimated to have contained 260 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Today it is 380 and it's estimated to rise to 550 by the middle of this centuary. So, carbon dioxide levels are higher now than in the last 8 ice ages!

But sunspot levels were also lower before the industrial revolution.  So are we conveniently ignoring them, and only looking at CO[sub2[/sub] levels as the only variable that matters?

The World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), based in Switzerland, continuously studies a set of 30 mountain glaciers in different parts of the world. It is not quite a representative sample of all mountain glaciers, but does give a reliable indication of global trends.

The latest survey, just released, shows accelerating decline. During 2005, this sample of 30 glaciers became, on average, 60-70cm thinner. This figure is 1.6 times more than the average annual loss during the 1990s, and three times faster than in the 1980s.

Two decades is not a long time in terms of weather.

But that being said, there are two other factors one has to take into account.

Firstly, and very significantly (at least in my opinion) is the impact of the skiing industry on the Swiss Alps (particularly the denuding of tree cover to make way for skiers).

The second factor that may be an issue are levels of soot in the atmosphere.  I remember that back in the 1980's I was holidaying in Scandinavia, and we were on a guided walk over a glacier in Norway, and thee were noticeable levels of oily soot on the surface of the glacier, which the guide suggested (that since there were no industries near by, nor much road traffic – not many roads) was precipitated from overflying aircraft.  I cannot say if his analysis was correct, but whatever the cause, the soot would have reduced the albedo of the ice, and would have thus accelerated its melting.  I can't say if a similar problem exists in the Swiss Alps (I do not recollect such high levels of soot accumulating on the Alps, but that was probably because there is naturally a higher turnover of snow and ice, so there is less time to see such large levels to accumulate, but it may still have a lesser effect upon that environment).
 
The IPCC's 2001 report (i'm having trouble finding a more recent report) projects that sea level could rise between 4 and 35 inches (10 to 89cm) by century's end. Worldwide some 100 million people live within 3 feet (1 meter) of mean sea level. Over 150 km2 of London lies below high tide level.

Do we sit back and say, well it may not be due to incresed carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere? Or act to reduce our emissions?

Firstly, these are speculative projections, not proven fact.

What is fact is that the entire east coast of England is subsiding into the sea (as the west coast, particularly the north-west, rises out of the sea).  As far as we have had records, we have been losing villages and settlements along our eastern coast as they slide into the waters of the North Sea.

What does this Government do – it focusses on CO2 emissions, that have nothing to do with the problem, while reducing expenditure on coastal sea defences that might protect some of these settlements.  True, we have installed a barrier in the Thames to protect London, being the seat of Government, but as for the rest of the east cost, it can go and drown itself.

We are panicking over shadows, while ignoring the more tangible issues.

Ofcourse they are, this is where an informed debate comes in.

Indeed, but to have informed debate you need both good quality information and a public that is capable of judging that information.  Judgement means not panicking and not coming to rash conclusions, but making careful consideration, and having patience to delay action until the time is right (to use the old cliché one sees in all those old moves that try and glorify the days of empire, hold your fire until you see the whites of their eyes, and make sure every shot counts).

In that respect, none of the debate on global warming (from either side) has really done the public any real service.

Apart from voting with their pockets, a lot of people vote by way of tradition...my father voted labour...so did his and i follow suit. this may not be the norm in all areas of the UK but i can assure you that is the way it is in the mining communities of yorkshire.

This is the major problem with party based democracy, and is what leads to the creation of safe seats, which basically mean these people have excluded themselves from the democratic process (the politicians know they have these people's votes, no matter what they do, and so they don't need to really do anything to earn these people's votes).


But was not your earlier argument that it does not matter what the motive for an action if it achieves the desired result.

If you desire people to move away from an oil based economy, and preferring a nuclear based economy, what are you expecting the Iranians to
do – stay with an oil based economy?

Sorry George but i can not take you seriously on this. Yes my point was to move away from an oil based economy, but are you seriously advocating allowing the like of Iran nuclear capabilities?

There are more options avaliable, by all means we should help the Iranians and impoverished nations move away from their oil based economies but not with nuclear technology.

we have solar, bio-fuels (yes i argue about bio-fuels but only corn based - robbing the world of potential food is not an answer), wind, tidal even human waste can be used to make bio-fuels!

These are hypothetical solutions – none of them have been proven on any significant scale.  Nuclear has been proven.

The only real technology that can be considered as an alternative is hydo power, but this is not equally available for all countries, and has proved to have generated much environmental opposition of its own.

Certainly, if the USA (or even the UK or the EU) had stepped forward and suggested that it would sponsor some alternative, and plausible, energy producing venture in Iran, rather than merely arguing from the negative, it may have seemed more plausible in its own position.

What I find particularly difficult to swallow is that we preach that countries such as Iran should not follow a nuclear path, and yet we refuse to practice what we preach.  I can see arguments on both sides, but I cannot see that to argue one case for ourselves, and another for other nations, can be considered anything but hypocrisy.

The reality is that I don't believe that the genie can be put back in the bottle, the technologies for nuclear power and weapons are now well established, and the notion that we can denuclearise the world is naïve, but then so is the notion that we can have a two tier world, those who are allowed to use nuclear, and those who are not.


Like i said above, we need greater diversity in the way we produce fuel and electricity. We have the technology and possibly the political will to take these steps. Now if the politicians  don't see that having a "green" agenda will get them more votes, then for sure the will and money will dry up.

Why not take advantage of the current political climate and make those changes? Let's say we are wrong about climate change, and carbond dioxide is not a major factor! Will we have lost anything? Will we have created greater economic wealth? helped impoverished countries with new technology? created a whole new industry? and stopped raping the earth of it's natural resources?

Will we not all be winners?


Firstly, the notion of raping the Earth of its natural resources is an old idea, and used to be applied to all mining, not just the extraction of fuel (e.g. mining for metal ores).  Ofcourse, in its own way, the same argument could be used about farming, or in fact any utilisation of natural resources.

The reality is the nuclear is also based upon mined fuel, but uranium rather than carbon.  Is mining for uranium any less 'raping the Earth' than mining for carbon?  Even the large scale use of solar energy will means we need to dig up a lot of sand to provide the silicon for those photocells, to say nothing of the vast swathes of land that will have to have the suns rays blocked from reaching the soil beneath so that we can collect the energy of the sub with our photocells.  Just look at the level of opposition that happens with regard to the siting of wind farms, and imagine that no matter what land intensive means we have of generating energy, they will all have similar opposition.

Human waste used to be used extensively for energy creation, as well as being used for fertiliser (the nightly collection of night soil was a common feature of past European towns).  It was generally considered less sanitary than more modern waste disposal methods, being more prone to spread diseases.  Besides which, the burning of dung (which is very common in the poorer parts of the world) also generates many noxious fumes (some of these could be mitigated if done at a higher temperature, but do we actually have enough dung and human faeces to actually do this on such a large scale?).

In terms of household waste incineration as a means of energy production – that is an idea that I do support, but it is not a panacea, and will not make up for the loss of the alternatives.

We will not be winners at all if we simply destroy our carbon based industry, and find we are left with a vacuum in its place.  We will not be winners at all if in investing in lots of white elephant projects, we have spent all our capital, and achieved nothing but impoverishment.

I have nothing against a careful step by step development of new technologies.  The problem is that the present political climate seems to be about deliberately destroying what we have, and hoping against hope that the vacuum we create will be filled with something good rather than something worse than we had before.

I am not against developing better alternative sources of energy, but I am against the deliberate destruction of the infrastructure that we have.  If the new sources are proven to be so great, then they will prove themselves capable of naturally replacing what we have today, but simply to destroy what we have out of a blind hope that anything that replaces will be better seems to me to be criminally naïve.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #39 on: 17/03/2007 11:50:10 »
Global warming is, it seems, a fact. There is more CO2 in the air than there used to be. At least some of that increase is due to industry.
What is less clear is that there is a causal relation between these data. Historic records show that it has been warmer in the past and also that it has been colder in the past. We survived and so did the polar bears. These changes took place long before mankind was making any difference to CO2 levels.
There are a lot of people whose jobs rely on funding of research into greenhouse gas emmisions. It would be odd if they didn't write "more work is required in this field" at the end of every paper they wrote.

Whether or not burning oil and gas contributes to global warming it would be prudent to reduce our consumption simply because these are finite resources.
The argument that even if there is no link between CO2 and global warming we should negotiate international treaties to reduce CO2 production fails to take account of the damage that such treaties may do to standards of living in the developing world. Those last 2 statements are not contradictory. Here in the Western world we have access to technology that can reduce our dependence of fossil fuels. That technology and infrastructure simply isn't present in the developing world. Whatever your stance on nuclear power, it's fair to say that the rich West is better placed to build reactors than the developing world.
BTW
John Redwood was known as Mr Spock, but only by people who were being nice to him.
 

another_someone

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« Reply #40 on: 17/03/2007 19:58:21 »
Global warming is, it seems, a fact. There is more CO2 in the air than there used to be. At least some of that increase is due to industry.
What is less clear is that there is a causal relation between these data.

No, it is not clear there is a causal relationship, much less, if such a relationship exists, in which direction the causal relation might be.

Statistical correlation does not indicate the direction of a causal link, and a coincidence of two events does not amount to statistical correlation.

That having been said, it has been shown that in the geological past there does seem to be a greater statistical correlation between CO2 and temperature, but the initial indications are that this is the reverse of the causal link suggested by the doom sayers.

Whether or not burning oil and gas contributes to global warming it would be prudent to reduce our consumption simply because these are finite resources.

This does not necessarily follow.

What is prudent is that we continue to develop alternative technologies that do not depend on mineral oil and gas, but this is different from saying that we should reduce the usage of oil and gas at present.  The reason I suggest that it does not make sense to reduce consumption of oil and gas at present is because these are mature industries that benefit from economies of scale, and trying to scale back these industries will probably have the effect of undermining these economies of scale, and possibly causing the industries to crash (just as the coal industries in Europe crashed long before we actually ran out of coal in Europe).

The argument that even if there is no link between CO2 and global warming we should negotiate international treaties to reduce CO2 production fails to take account of the damage that such treaties may do to standards of living in the developing world. Those last 2 statements are not contradictory. Here in the Western world we have access to technology that can reduce our dependence of fossil fuels. That technology and infrastructure simply isn't present in the developing world. Whatever your stance on nuclear power, it's fair to say that the rich West is better placed to build reactors than the developing world.

If your argument is in support of positive investment in nuclear (and other alternative) technologies, then I have no argument with it.  If you are trying to suggest that we should take measures to make people's lives a misery by imposing onerous taxation and complex bureaucracy upon their present lifestyles, then that is admission that we presently have no better alternative that we have, and the only choice we have is to make people's lives so miserable that the impoverished options we offer them seem like a godsend compared to the economic and bureaucratic nightmare we create for them.

When we have developed genuine alternatives to the existing fuel sources that present a positive  step forward, then there should be no need to apply punitive legislation to persuade people it is a good choice to switch.

The fact is that while any resource, including (but not limited to) mineral oil, is finite; all the evidence is that there is no immediate emergency requirement to substitute for it, and so no need for emergency measures, merely reason to prudent investment.  Oil is unlikely to run out in my life time (in fact, I suspect that like coal, we will have switched away from oil before it actually runs out).  It may well be that within the life time of the next generation, we will have required to switch to alternative fuels, but that is still a reasonable time in which to do so in an orderly way without imposing panic measures today.
 

Offline Mjhavok

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« Reply #41 on: 20/03/2007 03:00:06 »
What about Americas answer to global warming. SPACE MIRRORS. Seriously.
 

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« Reply #42 on: 20/03/2007 03:45:22 »
Space mirrors are going have to be extremely massive to have any significant impact, and then will also become a navigational problem for spacecraft - do you really want something the size of a continent floating up there in space, even if you could get it up in the first place?
 

Offline Mjhavok

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« Reply #43 on: 20/03/2007 03:48:07 »
Space mirrors are going have to be extremely massive to have any significant impact, and then will also become a navigational problem for spacecraft - do you really want something the size of a continent floating up there in space, even if you could get it up in the first place?

I said that as a joke. I was amazed it was an actual idea.
 

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« Reply #43 on: 20/03/2007 03:48:07 »

 

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